Trekking gorillas has long been the top of many a bucket list and it is always an incredible experience to see the mountain gorilla at close quarters in its natural habitat. One of the key decisions to make is where to track them – Rwanda and Uganda both have their advantages and disadvantages – here we give you the rundown so that you can choose which destination will suit you best.
Having being named as Lonely Planet’s top country for 2015, Uganda has firmly overcome the legacy of Idi Amin’s regime and is much more closely resembling Winston Churchill’s description of it as ‘the pearl of Africa’. Here we give a rundown of our top picks for Uganda to really make the most of your time here…
We offer an extensive range of luxury honeymoons to Uganda including gorilla trekking, privately guided safaris, and luxury adventure honeymoons.
Gorillas, Chimps and Wildlife
Bwindi, Queen Elizabeth National Park
Best for: Wildlife, Imagine Favourites, Walking Trekking
For an exhilarating adventure packed with wildlife and excitement, head on this journey through Uganda's National Parks, Wetlands, and Rainforests to spot some of the most incredible animals on Earth.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8870
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From chimpanzees and gorillas, to lions and elephants, and the most diverse bird life; your visit to Uganda offers a unique and truly memorable experience.
Days 1 - 3 : Kibale Forest National Park, Uganda
Stay at Primate Lodge Kibale for 2 nights
You will arrive at Entebbe Airport and be met by your vehicle and guide; who will be with your throughout your visit to offer information and an insight into Ugandan life. You will leave Entebbe after enjoying some lovely views of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake, and skirt around the nations’ busy capital, Kampala before getting on the open road.
You will pass through small villages that are synonymous with Ugandan life, winding around green forests and fields before you reach the beautiful tea-growing district, often likened to England’s Lake District for its hills, mountains and lakes. You will arrive at the pretty town of Fort Portal, nestled between rolling hills and the snow-capped Rwenzori mountains. From here you will make your way into the vast Kibale forest, where deep inside you will find the wonderful Primate Lodge- your home for the next two nights.
This morning you will venture into Kibale forest to track man’s closest relative, the Chimpanzee. Kibale has several communities of habituated chimps, and is often said to be the world’s premier location for chimpanzee tracking. You will no doubt be aware of the chimps long before you see them, as their screams and shouts echo around the dizzying heights of the canopy above- but on a good day you will get much closer than that, and it is not uncommon at all to get up close and personal with the animals as they bound about the forest floor, playing and searching for food.
After your trek you will experience another side to the forest ecosystem, as you visit the Bigodi Wetland Reserve; home to nearly 200 bird as well as several primate and reptile species. The day ends with dinner around the fire at Primate Lodge.
Days 3 - 5 : Queen Elizabeth NP, Uganda
Stay at Katara Lodge for 2 nights
A magical drive into the tea plantations and rolling hills around Kibale forest, and through the roots of the Rwenzori Mountains, leads you to Queen Elizabeth National Park, one of Uganda’s most dramatic. Your drive takes you over the Equator and right through the great flat plain of the park sat between the Rwenzori Mountains and the Albertine rift valley, creating a natural boundary for the vast variety of game found here.
You will no doubt spot buffalo and elephant from the road as you approach the hills of the Albertine Rift valley. Here you will find Katara Lodge, overlooking the Park and the distant Rwenzori Mountains. There may be time for an afternoon game drive, before dinner in the company of a stunning African sunset.
This morning you will have another totally different opportunity to come face-to-face with man’s closest relative as you head into the incredible Kyambura Gorge to track the Chimpanzee. The gorge is a natural, 12km scar of tropical forest on the face of the stark savannah, and is home to a community of 25 Chimp, led by the magnificent alpha male, Brutus. The chimps can be elusive, but the forest is mesmerising and a must-see in Uganda. You can have a delicious brunch at the nearby coffee cooperative and tour their production process, before lunch at Katara Lodge. Then, take to the water in the afternoon on a boat trip along the hippo filled Kazinga Channel, searching for big game before another sunset dinner.
Days 5 - 7 : Bwindi National Park, Uganda
Stay at Mahogany Springs Safari Lodge for 2 nights
Your journey heads south west toward the highlight of your trip, but Queen Elizabeth National Park offers one more distraction as you drive through the Ishasha sector, famous for its population of tree-climbing lions. This unusual behaviour has only been seen in a handful of prides around the world, and while the lions can be elusive, it is not uncommon to see them as you make your way toward Bwindi Forest.
The journey is long and the road can be rough, but you will be compensated with fine views, first of Lake Edward and the Congolese Blue Mountains and then of the distant Virunga Volcanoes as you climb onto the rift valley passing through small farming communities. You will often find yourself sharing the road with herds of Ankole cattle, traditionally bred not for meat but for the size of their horns.
Mahogany Springs Lodge sits in the village of Buhoma, a mountain hamlet which overlooks the northern flank of Bwindi Impenetrable forest, and it is here that you will stay the night, overlooking a river valley with the forest just beyond.
The highlight of your trip will inevitably be tracking the critically endangered Mountain Gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable National park. The day begins early as you make you way to the park headquarters in Buhoma, where you will meet your guides and be put in your groups of eight for the trek. From here it might be a ten minute walk or three hour drive to the trailhead to begin your tracking experience, but the trackers will have been with the gorillas since first light and will be relaying their information to your guide by walkie talkie. Tracking in Bwindi can be tough, the forest is impossibly thick, altitude high and terrain undulating, but the hour with the gorillas is priceless and a true once in a lifetime opportunity. After you return you will be driven back to Buhoma and Mahogany Springs Lodge to regale your tales in front of the fire.
Day 7 : Bwindi to Kigali
Your safari comes to an end as you make the drive to Kigali in Rwanda. The route out of the forest is bumpy, but gives you a great chance to see some lesser primates which inhabit the trees close to the road.
You will reach the border after three hours or so, and from here it is a further three into Kigali. The drive may be long but it does take you along winding, smooth roads through more fantastic scenery, and you will be driven to the airport in time for an evening flight home.
Make this holiday idea yours.
Imagine your perfect holiday to Uganda. Now let us design it for you using your ideas and our expertise. Call us on 020 3141 2810.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8870
From $4655 per person
International economy class flights and airport taxes from the UK
Accommodation as listed
Gorilla tracking permits
Ask our specialists for prices excluding flights from the UK. This price is as a guide only. The actual price is influenced by fluctuations in exchange rate, time of year, travel class of flights and the use of private versus shared excursions. Single supplements are likely to apply.